Missouri House advances ‘personhood’ legislation

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri lawmakers have advanced a “personhood” measure that backers say will protect the unborn and opponents say could ban abortion.

House members voted 112-36 Tuesday to give the legislation initial approval. If passed by the Legislature, it would ask voters to decide whether to add “unborn human children at every stage of biological development” to a state constitutional provision that protects people’s “right to life.”

Republican backers say it’s needed to protect the unborn.

Democratic opponents say it could ban abortion, including in cases of rape, incest and in which the life of the mother is at risk. Democrats also said it could bar contraception, which some Republicans disputed.

The measure needs another House vote before it could head to the Senate. The deadline to pass legislation is May 13.